Home » Michelin, GM collaboration on Uptis wheel/tire aims for greater sustainability
At Michelin’s June Movin’On Summit for sustainable mobility, the leading tire supplier and General Motors introduced the Uptis (Unique Puncture-proof Tire System) prototype wheel technology for passenger vehicles. The companies also announced a joint research agreement under which they intend to validate the Uptis prototype with the goal of introducing it on passenger models as early as 2024. The partners are testing the Uptis prototype, beginning with vehicles like the Chevrolet Bolt EV. Because Uptis is airless, the wheel assembly is meant to eliminate the risk of flat tires and blowouts. In addition, it is intended to reduce the number of punctured or damaged tires that are scrapped before reaching the end of their life cycle; reduce the use of raw materials, energy for production, and emissions linked to the manufacture of spare tires and replacement tires that are no longer required; and last longer by eliminating irregular wear and tear caused by over- or under-inflation. Uptis features architecture and composite materials that are intended to enable it to bear the car’s weight at road-going speeds without compressed air. The environmental savings relate to the approximately 200 million prematurely scrapped tires worldwide each year as a result of punctures, damage from road hazards, or improper air pressure that causes uneven wear. Michelin believes that future mobility will inevitably converge toward large fleets of shared vehicles. The company believes that Uptis, which dispenses with regular maintenance, pressure checks, and punctures or other damage, is ideal for self-driving shuttles and all-electric and shared-service cars, whose occupants would not be expected to replace a flat tire. The most obvious target markets focus on fleet applications, especially autonomous passenger fleets or urban fleets that transport high passenger volumes.
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